We spent a good deal of time putting together our story about how a very small group of nursing home magnates are becoming the deciding voices for the outcome of judicial elections.
In the story, you’ll find the plain facts: Who got what from which nursing home conglomerate and how much. It takes just a little bit of editorializing, though, to provide the proper context to interpret these facts.
And so here is the gist of it, and we hope this sets some people straight on the new political facts of life as far as Arkansas campaign finance goes:
New political fact of life No. 1: You’d be a fool not to take money from big nursing home interests. It’s gotten to the point that the stacks of money they’re bringing to the table are so big that if you don’t, you’re probably hobbling you chances of winning when the big stacks get shifted over to whoever’s filed against you
New political fact of life No. 2: You’re going to end up looking like a fool if you do take their money. Side with them, and you’re a bought-out scoundrel who sacrificed their values for easy money; side against them and they’ll bankroll your next political rival.
There are several intricacies involving the wisdom of tort reform and the current state of campaign finance laws as they relate to corporations, but the dilemma described above pretty much sums up the issue.
What the big nursing home interests have done to a lot of political candidates is put them in a position where they’ve got to take their money, and they’ve got to like it.
It’s not like any of them can say, “I needed the money but I’m ashamed for taking it.” No, because if they say anything too far removed from “the several thousand dollars I got from [insert nursing home tycoon here] is right and good and a joyous thing forever” they’re just stealing from themselves.
We know the several local candidates for seats at both the judicial and legislative tables who’ve taken contributions, and we also know there are several more, both Republicans and Democrats, who will be talking with the big nursing home owners in the next few weeks hoping for contributions.